KOLKATA: Experiential activity will play an important role in Tata Motors’ marketing of its Nexon compact SUV which launches this week, building on the success the manufacturer has had over the past year with models in other auto categories.

The official launch is on Thursday but already interested consumers in Kolkata can experience driving the vehicle at the Nexon Skill Arena, where they can navigate obstacle courses and drive on rumblers and tilted ramps; similar activities will be taken to nine other cities, including Gurugram, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai and Jaipur.

“Our focus is to help our customers touch, feel and experience the product, which in turn would enhance the customer purchase experience and further strengthen the brand perception,” explained Vivek Srivatsa, Tata Motors Head of Marketing/Passenger Vehicle Business Unit.

This follows on from previous experiential marketing initiatives that began with a new design philosophy embraced in the Tiago hatchback last year and continued with the Hexa SUV at the start of this year.

The Tiago was shifting around 3,000 units a month but a marketing approach that encouraged people to try the car themselves – an important tactic for a manufacturer previously positioned as a fleet car provider – has helped push that figure up to 7,000.

A more targeted strategy was needed for the Hexa, which simulated a “rough environment” for the car so that people in 20 cities could try it for themselves.

“We identified 500 communities which included doctors, lawyers, journalists, architects and many other users whom we knew would go for an SUV,” said Mayank Pareek, Tata Motors President/Passenger Vehicles Business Unit. Region-specific users were also pinpointed.

The model is now averaging 1,700 units a month, The Hindu reported, with many buyers choosing the top-end version rather than the basic model.

That’s part of a wider trend, according to Pareek, who noted that younger consumers, who make up two thirds or more of buyers, prefer to have all the extras; only 5% buy a basic version.

“India is a market that is still evolving with people willing to try out a host of offerings,” he added. “Youngsters do not have any baggage or legacy issues and are now going in for new brands.”

Data sourced from Business Standard, Economic Times, The Hindu; additional content by WARC staff